"The court has sustained a claim of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chechen Republic against Murad Amriyev and human rights defenders", "Caucasian Knot"

Событие | Пресс центр

30 March 2015

The Leninsky District Court of Grozny has sustained a suit to defend one’s honour and dignity of the Ministry of the Interior of Chechnya against the Committee Against Torture and Murad Amriyev from Chechnya who complained of having been tortured by the police officers. 

As the «Caucasian Knot» has previously reported, in September 2013 Murad Amriyev applied to the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders which involves members of the Committee Against Torture, for legal assistance, having reported that on 25 August 2013, he was abducted and tortured for two days in the building of the Department of the Interior of Grozny. On 9 February the court compelled the Ministry of the Interior to amend the claim against Amriyev and the Committee Against Torture.  

On 27 June 2014 the representatives of the Ministry of the Interior of Chechnya filed a court action against Amriyev to defend its honor, dignity and business reputation. On 8 December 2014 the Leninsky District Court of Grozny sustained a suit on vacating of court ruling and scheduled a new examination of the claim. In the course of the court hearing on 25 December 2014 representatives of the Ministry of the Interior lodged a motion on naming INGO «The Committee Against Torture» a defendant in trial.   
 
In the course of the court hearing on 27 March lawyer Evgeny Chilikov working with the Committee Against Torture represented the interests of Murad Amriyev. The Committee Against Torture was represented by the head of the head of the Center of Protection of the Rights of Mass Media Galina Arapova.  

The defendant party lodged several motions on requesting access to materials relating to the check of the investigative authorities based on Amriyev’s report of tortures, Galina Arapova told the «Caucasian Knot» correspondent. 

«The judge dismissed all the motions. There was a feeling that the case was bound to be finished despite our arguments. We asked to request access to the note on bodily injuries from materials of check performed by the Investigative Committee. There are 12 dismissals to initiate criminal proceedings against one of the police officers and 12 appeals against these  rulings which were filed by lawyers of the Committee. All of these 12 dismissals are absolutely identical, word for word. All of this evidence was important and supported our case that this information was not cooked up and that there are reasonable grounds to say that illegal violence was used against Murad Amriyev», – Arapova said.     

However, finally the court satisfied the claim of the Ministry of the Interior of Chechnya against Murad Amriyev and the Committee Against Torture to defend its honor, dignity and business reputation, and demanded that the publication that the Ministry of the Interior complained of is declared false by the defendants. At the same time the court refused to pass a ruling on recovery of 100 thousand roubles for the benefit of the Ministry of the Interior as a compensation for moral damage.  

The defendant party insisted that the  legal body «cannot experience either emotional distress or physical pain». 

«Throughout the trial we asked that the Ministry of the Interior amended its claim, which had very vague wording, namely – the demand was «to declare false inaccurate information published by the defendant on his website». But there is a lot of information on the website of the Committee Against Torture. And even if we take this press-release in question, it also contains quite general information. For example, it is stated that Murad Amriyev is not residing in Chechnya, but left for a different region, i.e. in fact the Ministry of the Interior required that we to declare this information false, too», – said Arapova.  

The publication in question also contains a commentary from the lawyer working with the Committee Against Torture who evaluated the prospects of Amriyev’s complaint examination at the national level and in the ECHR, Arapova noted. 

«In essence, it is a purely legal commentary which does not contain any facts of impeaching evidence. However, the plaintiff’s representative demanded to publicly reject the whole of the context. The court accepted that position of the plaintiff  and drew up the ruling in exactly the same manner. The substantive provisions state that the demand is to publicly reject the false information. And the court ruling does not specify which facts included in the press-release we are required to publicly reject», – said the head of the Center of Protection of the Rights of Mass Media.  

The defendant intends to appeal against the court ruling after having received its rationale. «The rationale of the ruling will be ready in five days time. Certainly, we shall appeal against the court ruling, since it contradicts the existing legislation and the common sense, it violates the European Human Rights Convention, because the demand of the court is to publicly reject the information which is not discrediting but quite neutral and represents the facts. The judge violated our procedural rights, having dismissed all the motions when the burden of proving lay on us», – said Galina Arapova.

In its claim the Ministry of the Interior litigated the information contained in Murad Amriyev’s statement on the web site “Grani.ru”. «Grani» web site was not named as a co-defender.
 
Lawyers also think that in the case of Amriyev the interests of «Grani.ru» web site are violated since without getting this web site involved in the case examination the «decision of the court affects the rights and obligations of this mass media».   

«Grani» web site was not involved, though the Ministry of the Interior mentioned its plans to get it involved as a co-defendant, however it has not been done. At the same time the reference to «Grani» was moved to the text of the judgment which demands to «declare false the information stated by Murad Amriyev distributed on «Grani.ru» web site». 

It turns out that their rights and obligations are affected by this judgment and they did not even have the opportunity to speak out in the framework of the court hearing in order to make their opinion public, which is also a gross violation of the court hearing. In addition, we have not discussed this publication not even once. Despite all this the court passed a judgment demanding to declare false the information distributed in «Grani.ru» web site and this is absurd, it is a sheer judicial nonsense», – Arapova thinks.

In her opinion, if «the decision-making of the appeals instance is based on legal norms the decision of the Leninsky District Court will be quashed».  

«If the decision is made under pressure of some other factors and not based exclusively on legal norms, we may have a decision supporting the position of the Ministry of the Interior. What we observe is not the legal decision, but a decision based on the interests of local relations, importance of supporting the authority of the police against all the odds», – Arapova concluded.

«Caucasian Knot» has not yet received any comments from the representatives of the Leninsky District Court of Grozny and the Ministry of the Interior for Chechnya in relation to the judgment passed by the court and statements of Galina Arapova.
 
Source: Caucasian Knot